Surgery, Rehabilitation and Recovery
When you’ve experienced an injury or degenerative condition and lived with the associated pain and inconvenience, it’s tempting to see surgery as the ultimate solution, a quick fix that will make everything better.
If you really need surgery, it is certainly a wonderful blessing, a clear milestone in your recovery. But it’s not the end of your journey.
Opting for surgery
Sometimes your condition is so severe that it’s clear from the beginning that surgery offers the best hope of recovery. Maybe you need an ACL repair and reconstruction, perhaps you tore your meniscus, or perhaps you clearly need a cartilage repair and resurface.
In most cases, though, your doctors start with conservative treatment options first. They’ll recommend non-invasive treatment like physiotherapy and medication, or minimally invasive techniques like injections. The goal is to help your body heal with as little disruption as possible, avoiding surgery unless it’s absolutely necessary.
That’s because surgery always involves risks, whether from anaesthesia, infection or clotting. Generally speaking though, those risks are worth it if they’re outweighed by the benefits of improved function and mobility.
Your surgeon should explain the risks and benefits to you before your operation and talk to you about rehabilitation afterwards.
Benefits of rehabilitation
Your rehab will usually start before you’re discharged. A hospital physio will help you start moving and help you complete other exercises before you go home.You may need to allow a little time for healing after your surgery before you begin a more intensive program of rehabilitation. That may involve a number of exercises intended to help you restore strength and flexibility to the injured area.
Rehabilitation has many benefits. It can help you to:
- Improve movement and motion in the injured part of your body
- Build muscle strength
- Reduce pain
- Improve circulation and balance
- Get back to your daily activities
- Get back into shape for your chosen sport.
The details of your rehabilitation depend on your type of injury, your surgery and your goals. Your physiotherapist will create a program of exercises, tailored to your needs and help you measure your progress.
Then you have to do them regularly. That’s not always easy. Estimates suggest at least 50% of patients don’t do their exercises and that has significant implications for their recovery.
Planning to succeed with your rehab
You’re more likely to do your rehab if you spend a bit of time planning it into your calendar.
So Book this time into your diary.
Once you’ve identified the best time, then gather everything you need together. Your physio may recommend the use of medicine balls, light weights or resistance bands. Get them before you start.
Finally, reward yourself for doing each day of exercises. Even a simple visual system like ticking it off on a chart or putting a paperclip in a jar each time can help keep you on track.The best reward, of course, is recovery. It’s never guaranteed but hopefully the end result of your surgery and rehabilitation is less pain and more freedom.
When’s the best time to do it? Before work? After work? Once the kids are at school?
How The Brisbane Spine Clinic can help
We love helping people recover from surgery and get back to living the life they love.
As physiotherapists, we understand how your body works and how to help you recover from musculoskeletal injuries and surgeries. We’ll develop a tailored program of exercises to help you move more freely, showing you how to complete them and gradually increasing the challenge on your body as you get stronger.
So, if you’re contemplating surgery or if you’ve recently had it, then please make an appointment for a rehabilitation assessment. We’d love to help you.
All information is general in nature. Patients should consider their own personal circumstances and seek a second opinion.